tv Cross Talk RT September 9, 2017 12:00am-12:30am EDT
far more valuable than to be. moscow's new ambassador to washington meets the u.s. president amid a diplomatic brow over the seizure of a russian consulate. the first humanitarian aid convoy reaches day resort as the syrian army prepares for a final push to liberate the city from islamic state people into a resort on the brink of starvation we were desperate for food and water to reach the city and thank god help is now right if you can to describe how relieved we are people were dying. also in the headlines almost see amnesty international condemns a deadly crackdown on government critics in bahrain and accuses western powers of
turning a blind dog into the situation. that's it for me for now rory sushi will be live from here almost a studio in around an hour's time stay with us. hello and welcome to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle the u.s. and north korea continue their war of words well cooler minds pressed for diplomacy and negotiations how much of a threat is north korea to the global order and why is the united states threatening force to resolve this conflict.
cross talking north korea i'm joined by my guess so rep group in washington he's a senior fellow at the institute for china america studies also in washington we have brian becker he is director of the answer coalition as well as host of loud and clear a daily new show on radio sputnik and in medford we crossed through so normally he is a professor of korean studies at the fletcher school at tufts university in boston right gentlemen crossed rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want i always appreciate sort of if i go to you first in washington this of course we have twenty four seven wall to wall coverage of this story coming out of north korea but i'd like to take a step back how much of this is actually a real crisis or is it just internal politicking in the two capitals in north korea and in the united states in washington there's a really strong domestic politics undercurrent for both countries go ahead. there is a serious sense of crisis at this point of time but also there is an element of it
being manufactured to it's manufactured in the sense that in perl and in all this the u.s. and south korea have its military exercises north korea typically has a response stick or a nuclear response to that and this wretched ratchets up the level of tension and the words and theirs and so it does create a crisis like atmosphere. zooming and hoping that things will calm down to some extent once we get past the spirit and hopefully from mid september on words but there's a period of a period of tension and would say for at least a week or two ok brian let me go to you i mean one of the things i find very troubling about all of this i am against the proliferation of nuclear weapons i would like to see absolute universal disarmament ok completely ok but it seems to me what the dangerous path that this invented
a real crisis is it gets down to credibility and this is very dangerous because no one wants to back away and this is what bothers me about this rhetoric it bothers me very much that the u.s. out of hand rejects we'll talk later in this program about the double frees i think that's a very interesting first step but it gets down to who's going to back down who's who's credible and who's not and i don't like seeing that coming out of washington it never works out well for the united states and the people that it deals with when they do worries about its credibility and north korea well it's very much surrounded not that you have to like the regime but it is military threatened by many many sides by amazing military forces here go ahead brian. north korea has been fiercely independent not just recently not just since the collapse of the soviet union but even during the cold war when the sino soviet dispute was at its high point d p r k managed to retain its own independence that's when they also articulated and amplified their own policy of joosh a in other words
self reliance they have no forand soldiers on their soil telling them what to do of course there are thirty thousand plus u.s. soldiers in south korea and north korea is a nuclear power now it doesn't need to be a crisis i mean india is a nuclear power pakistan's a nuclear power israel's a nuclear power all five members of the security council who are engaging in sanctions against d p r k some with different positions of course the us being the most bellicose they're all nuclear powers at one time the united states said of the soviet union had nuclear weapons the sky would fall and they must have preemptive nuclear war that was a doctrine same with quote red china in the one nine hundred fifty s. and yet over time the united states acclimated to the reality and thus began a process of normalized relations even even with its targeted enemies the countries that didn't want to have nuclear weapons but but stood now d p r k has left the n.p.t.
the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in the early part of the two thousand they had the right to do so they were labeled part of the axis of evil by george w. bush as bush prepared to carry out the destruction of iraq which he did and killed their leadership so we know where north korea is going they feel that these weapons are existential to their defense they're not giving them up the u.s. has to acclimate and begin normalization of relations so you know if i go to you in medford i mean who gains from this crisis here who of all the i mean there's many many players here you can pick whichever ones you want but what is the what is each side let's look at north korean let's look at the u.s. what do they want to get out of this go ahead. you have to look at the basic internal dynamic in the korean peninsula in which you have two korean states the north and the south each claiming to be the sole legitimate korean state representing the entire korean people in that contest for korean legitimacy to much of the world it's clear who has won south korea is
a global leader in electronic shipping and open prosperous society north korea not so much what that means is the sheer existence of the south korean state a society as a magnet for the north korean people presents an existential challenge for the kim regime by the conventional indices of measuring state power military power economic power culture soft power and so on south korea is way ahead of the north except for in the field of military power so kim has a compelling need to be a menace not only to south korea to try to isolate him ask and to dominate seoul but also a threat a credible threat to the united states to get the u.s. troops out of there to get washington to downgrade its alliance and support for the south and be able one day to be prevail over south korea so the past quarter
century north korean nuclear saga in this story there are many constants of course but north korea has gained the most billions tens of billions of dollars in aid from the world's biggest countries all for repeated lies of denuclearize ation ok and this year you know thousand and seventeen has been ok and the minutes it sounds like to go back to washington. i mean that sounds like a script for regime change and we have seen this many many times before and it doesn't work for us to redeem change i don't see there's that is an alternative and i don't think the neighborhood once said you may not like to the north korean regime would force regime change brings you into the world of unintended consequences go ahead. yeah regime change is just not a starter here the problem actually has been that there has been mixed messaging out here. the trumpet ministration actually has made certain assurances provided
certain will bill assurances that many previous administrations were very hesitant to provide north korea with in terms in terms of no regime change in or asian collapse not crossing the thirty eighth parallel do not seek that do not seek expedited reunification and cetera et cetera and many of those worry iterated by secretary tillerson just before he went to his r.c. and led me those r.c. on meetings in early early august so the us has laid out very broadly that it is not will it does not for to go down that direction but there's also this very very hawkish tone and this muscle flexing with exercises and so each party just chooses to pick out what they wish as a threat from the adversity and operate on that basis and that has become the problem you know brian one of the things that again i keep using the word troubling when i know that we all know that president trump met with his cabinet members to
discuss with u.s. policy towards the korean peninsula and you know when the congressmen were going out from both parties that there's a lot of confusion i mean you have your secretary of state saying that he wants to pursue negotiations and then you have the military guys saying we're preparing plans here i mean for everybody else watching this the u.s. position is seems to be very unclear it's a very you know on rhetoric on steroids but policy doesn't seem to be very clear go ahead brian. yes and all the bluster and bluff and provocative language by america the largest military power in the world a country that when it went to war in korea. you know their main complaint of american pilots in north bombing north korea carpet bombing was that there's nothing left to bomb because everything taller than once one story had been destroyed. and so many and that was one thousand nine hundred fifty not anxious not history that was an ancient history so here you know it then you have nicky nikki
haley at the united nations saying north korea is begging for war when really does anybody really believe north korea is begging for war why would the top diplomat talk like that and then expect north korea to turn around and say oh yeah let's get rid of our nuclear weapons that makes a lot of sense i mean when you say there's going to be they're going to be met with fire and fury and an armada and a tritone nuclear submarine that can instantly destroy twenty four north korean cities at the same time why would north korea under those circumstances having seen what happened to iraq having seen what happened to libya when they gave up their weapons of mass destruction and then they were invaded or bond and their leadership decapitated in the case of libya actually executed in the streets to which hillary clinton said great we came we saw he died why would the north koreans think hey this is the moment to start our disarmament process i mean this is ridiculous and you know this kind of rhetoric let me go to some. can in medford can you react to
that i mean we have heard the iraq and libya examples mentioned i mean the north koreans are very aware of this go ahead. two points the fiery rhetoric is not helpful and trump the president himself invites criticism with his words and action at the same time we've seen bluster from his predecessors clinton for example in july one thousand nine hundred three on a visit to south korea the demilitarized zone unprompted all of a sudden said if north korea builds and uses nuclear weapons it will be the end of their world as we know it we remember bush with axis of evil i love kim jong it but even bush when push came to shop when north korea escalated in a major way with its first nuclear test in two thousand and six gave north korea everything that it sought that it requested relaxing sanctions resuming food aid taking north korea off the state sponsors of terrorism list turning
a blind eye when it was revealed that north korea had built a nuclear reactor in syria present day isis controlled syria there were a lot of concessions coming the point here is it turns has been maintained ok jerry has maintained heard generally is power in the world would have eventually weapons alone i have to go to a hard break and after a short break we'll continue our discussion on north korea's state with our team. but maybe. i would. then make. them i talk to. riyadh all the response from. you to spidey to get his body of
one point the love of this story here but this sort of dash through the pokie what are you going to do but i am looking. the hugo. sort of port but it's easy to see and everybody everybody is kasey seymour hoffman and all that but it's one of. these. yes you know the bit in the butt is a bit about me to. be there but we could. just feel so sad next kids. to some muscle fishes it means that you struggle on the same issue into it let's combine yes and the. film to a musician touching caucus on us is to do so.
as long as he runs support still the intel international community should say to run this is not acceptable you should stop financing still from our perspective baseless ballots hamas saw this is will they do in other places but this is something that i believe israel should see to good or withdraw of course we do and i did states with other states and to say ok it's not just you know a small easily problem. welcome back to cross talk we're all things we're considered on peter bell to remind you we're discussing the situation surrounding north korea. ok let's go back to so you mean in medford massachusetts i'm sorry we had to go to
break you said you had two points you numerated on one what's the second one go ahead. north korea is so backward and bizarre the cult of personality is truly absurd it's eminently mockable and that often reduces north korea to a caricature and we underestimate we tend to patronize north korea and that's not really worked out in the interests of the regional powers meaning we presume north korea many for the right price give up its nuclear weapons when we certainly don't make their absurd presumption views of eight other nuclear states in the world we presume that north korea merely reacts to external stimuli what american presidents say or do and if we were a bit nicer maybe they'll listen to us and disarm no with conventional weapons alone north korea has successfully deterred the united states throughout the cold war meaning in every instance of north korea's lethal attacks killings of americans
and south koreans there's never been a military response by the united states for fear of escalation and war of course nuclear weapons give north korea a powerful deterrent but no weapon is purely defensive even the lowly shield has offensive properties just ask captain america or wonder woman north korea wants to leverage its nuclear weapons to be a credible threat to nuke a major u.s. city it doesn't want to do that necessarily it's not suicidal but it wants to attain that capability so we can get the u.s. out of there and be well positioned to bully and dumb in the kind of career where every little bit of everything ok good please go ahead because this caricature of north korea doesn't help anyone it doesn't help anyone security go ahead jump in. yeah the conventional weapons development by the north koreans was very strong and maybe acted as a deterrent it was also very very expensive the north korean under the new leadership of king they're very clear that the policy that they want to develop is
to divert more and more money of the national treasury into civilian economy there's a lot of construction going on in north korea the financial times said it believes that the annual rate of growth in north korea right now is nine percent it's not a basket case it went through terrible times in the one nine hundred ninety s. there are much better times now i was there in two thousand and thirteen the difference you could see it was palpable traffic in the street people walking around the factories were running into a lot of construction north korea believes that the nuclear weapons capability also allows it to take money away from conventional weapons and divert that money into civilian economic growth and that's a big difference in the new leadership the old leadership of can jungle have the army first policy kim jong un is looking towards economic development probably also relaxing some of the state control over parts of the economy and they think that economically speaking it's better to have nuclear weapons which you don't need as
many in order to function as a credible deterrent is long as it's a deterrent and that's probably what it is and that's why people possess nuclear weapons so that if i can go to you when you look at some of these bring some of the other players in here russia and china have proposed this double freeze or freeze for freeze proposal it's being dismissed out of hand in washington why it seems like that could be a starting point i you know one of the things i find quite galling coming out of washington and western media is that we must do everything possible to avoid a conflict that should be our top priority not who's going to come out on top not all the bluster and all the ridiculous headlines here i mean this is a real proposal on the table right now that's what you. be pursued go ahead in washington. i would totally agree with you i think it's so well thought out proposal and frankly china had always been very reticent very hesitant
to be too to lay out its proposals it wanted it would it was comfortable playing the role of can we know of a facilitator but no more than that but it is realizing the situation is moving so fast towards a crisis that you need to prove put put material on the table which parties can work off now i understand the u.s. and south korean and there's something not terribly fair that that that that kim jong un is under so many is so many international sanctions and should not be doing these testing doing these territory first place which are illegal fair fair fair enough and so perhaps it's not a for a freeze for free story but it can definitely be a freeze on the north korean side for a downgrading of military exercises this has been done before it can be done in different formats for example the oldest exercises which we had were itself command
post exercises it wasn't full full war fighting exercises they were done in perl so they can be done differently but the problem has been that you are the united states is loading too many little little preconditions which is just making it harder to get to the point where the two parties can have a quiet exchange through back channels perhaps and try to resolve some of the differences which will allow them to then sit com to to create a situation where it would become more amenable for them to sit to each business besides each other at formal for party or a six party or whatever party framework and it is that process which is creating hindrances of course. it's the testing is one issue for for for the united states but there's also the issue understandably it says the north koreans months in advance to have their deed nuclearization is on the table fair enough you can say about it but then there's also the issue of all and we want our citizens also which
you all are holding released and that will be a confidence builder on the basis of which remind them consider coming to the table that's just a little too many thing too many too many irritants being placed there was made in the past but it's meaning in well i think it's because they don't see the north korean regime as legitimate i think that's the problem it's an either or binary thing you know either it is a war or regime change i mean i there's nothing in the middle so you know if i go to you in in medford in your mind is north korea is a member of the united nations a sovereign country have any. should it have security guarantees protecting its sovereignty. it has a security guarantee it's built one for itself with its big military no one wants to invade north korea in the ruthless amoral world of international politics big nations like the us china russia bully and invade small countries that they can
afford to like iraq or afghanistan or bombing syria north korea no way because unlike those countries we know north korea will shoot back and inflict heavy casualties on the u.s. and south korea perhaps japan so a shaky peace balance of power has been maintained in the region for many years the problem with freeze for freeze is well there's the inconvenient fact that it's been tried before with no success in the mid ninety's the one thousand nine hundred forty nivo accord was a freeze on north korea's plutonium program but of course even despite despite even in spite of the gift the concession of freezing the combined annual exercises between the u.s. and south korea in one thousand nine hundred ninety five in ninety six called team spirit north korea pursued an alternate method of developing nuclear weapons through rainy i'm there is the bigger problem however freeze for freeze that's the chinese prescription russian prescription what are north korean saying we're never
going to give up our nuclear weapons then i just said that's not usually i want to know that we. can oh yeah i know i just been created i know but i don't know it was a lot of where to hang on i why read the washington post too and i saw the lies that they were disseminating more fake news from the washington post go ahead. yeah i mean the north koreans are for the last two years of the obama administration in the first year of the trumpet ministration in january that they would entertain a freezing of their technology nuclear technology and missile tests in exchange for that moratorium on word games why does our other guest call it a gift by america. to cancel war exercises massive war exercises that simulate the destruction of a country that the united states bond mercilessly in one nine hundred fifty why is that a gift i mean can north korea carry out war exercises against japan off off its territory or against the united states i mean there's this assumption of the right of the
imperial arrogant power to do whatever it must do or wants to do against small countries and then if they stop menacing them a little bit it's a great gift but the north koreans didn't reciprocate properly the north koreans like a lot of countries i would say maybe all countries are proud they don't want to be threatened and they shouldn't be threatened i mean the united states is a nuclear power it has an affirmative obligation to get rid of its nuclear weapons but it's not in its nuclear weapons under obama i mean it's the u.s. that's in violation of the n.p.t. and the other nuclear powers that are not doing what they must do to guarantee to small countries that don't have nuclear weapons that they don't need to get nuclear weapons so sort of if i go back to you and watch you know they let me make it or go back to other guests in washington near i want to stick with this question i mean again if you read western media and you come out you know the state department
you know north korea is much as he may like or dislike the regime i'm looking at the sovereignty of countries and i'm going to echo what brian said there i mean north korea has a right to protect itself all right and i think that that that simple message never gets filtered out into a wider audience go right ahead. i mean at one level yes you are definitely correct i mean every card country has the inherent right to self-defense and that is guaranteed by the united nations charter at the same time we also have to take into consideration that the united nations security council which is the highest legislative body in the world has also played prescriptions on certain aspects. korea's self-defense rate agreed agreed and that well i am inside is that is the mechanism here this is what i'm trying to get out here i mean there are venues there are places to do this ok and this you know all of this furious language coming out would they get way ahead of their skis on exactly i'll give you
the last word go ahead yeah. yeah and the u.s. has been very very poor on this front and this is not just in north korea but also in afghanistan pakistan has certain legitimate interests security interests in afghanistan if afghanistan is going to be a floor of a collapsing state so also north korea has some basic security interests also which deserve to be respected and it is just not clear that those interests are being respected all does all or or all of the united states or the western pause wish to respect it and it's that. many breeds this continuous cycle gentlemen let me jump in here we're run out of time here we have to do everything possible to avoid a nuclear conflict many thanks to my guests in washington and and medford and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember cross-talk rules.